Whether it’s called a Letter of Intent, Personal Statement or something else, graduate schools require applicants to write a short statement exhibiting why they’re a perfect candidate for a competitive graduate program. Use the tips below to help you as you organize your letter and decide what to include in the limited space given.
Focus on Content
You may be tempted to use your letter to show off eloquent writing abilities. Instead, you need to focus on including important content. For example, you may be tempted to write something long-winded such as:
“In my experience as a Spanish student, I was able to travel to Mexico with a mentorship program and teach children English for a semester.” = 138 characters
You can focus on content by saying:
“For one semester I taught English to children in Mexico.” = 55 characters.
If you are less wordy, you can be more specific regarding experiences and skills.
Bonus: You can use this website http://www.charactercountonline.com/ to count characters as you write.
Relate Personal Qualities to Your Experiences
When you describe qualities that you have that will make you a competent clinician, be sure to connect those qualities to your experience. How did your experience allow you to gain those qualities? For example, if one of your qualities is that you’re patient, how were you able to tangibly show that in your volunteer/work experience? Connect skills to specific and concrete examples.
Include Something That Makes You Stand Out
Do you have unique experiences, skills, or hobbies? The review committee has many applicants to go through, therefore you should analyze what is distinctive about yourself and connect it to your ability to be a well-rounded SLP.
Make Sure You’re Following Directions
Most schools have a prompt that will direct you on what to include in your statement of intent. While you might already have an idea of what you want to say, make sure you specifically answer the question asked. If you are writing statements for different universities, make sure you don’t copy and paste the same letter to each school because they may be asking slightly different questions.
Review, Re-write, Review Again
Don’t allow yourself to write your statement last minute. Once you send it in, it should be a well-crafted statement that most reflects your qualities and experiences. Write your statement, proofread it and then ask someone else to read it over as well. If you commonly interact with a professor or SLP supervisor, it would be beneficial for you to ask them to review your statement.
Grammarly is a free grammar checker and proofreader program that can improve your writing abilities
Statement of Purpose.com is a site focused on statements of puposes in general
A great article from the University of New Mexico with questions to ask yourself and general advice while writing
A detailed post by SLP_Echo about writing a letter of intent